Azkals grouped with Afghanistan, Laos, Turkmenistan in Challenge Cup


The Philippine national men’s football team joined Afghanistan, Laos and Turkmenistan in Group B of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup after the tournament draw conducted on Wednesday night in the Maldives.

The Azkals, who will be led by new coach Thomas Dooley, will play defending South Asia champion Afghanistan on May 20 and Southeast Asia neighbor Laos on May 22 at the Hithadhoo Stadium before finishing the group stages against 2012 Challenge Cup runner-up Turkmenistan on May 24 at the National Stadium in capital Male.

Host Maldives joined Group A alongside Palestine, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.

The top two teams from each group will face each other in the crossover semifinals on May 27 with the winners battling for the Challenge Cup title on May 30.

The Challenge Cup is a tournament among emerging football nations in Asia. The Azkals bagged third place in its last edition in 2012.

The champion of the Challenge Cup will earn a ticket to the prestigious 2015 Asian Cup, where the continent’s best squads will see action.

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